I thought we'd have a slow day yesterday and I was barely paying attention, just you know, going about my business, tending to matters on the plantation. Then, in the mid-afternoon, whilst I was watering the chickens, I got a text from Lucas, (who likes to sit upon the Iron Throne and pretend while Steve is away). The text said, "Clips sign Matt Barnes for 12 million". Before I could respond I got a second text that said, "11M", then a third text that said "9-11". A fourth said, "Year 3 optional". (Lucas has acquired the same habit as my wife, where they both text very fast, never allowing me time to fit a response in between, and, in my wife's case, the second text usually corrects some mispelling in the first text, the third consists of a demanding "?!?!?" or "Where are you?!?!" and the fourth says, invariably, "Nvrmnd".) Lucas is slightly more patient but not by much.
I retreated to my tower, cranked up the balky old desktop and logged onto Twitter. Yes, Matt Barnes had been signed, for a variety of reported numbers (which now appear to be somewhere between 11-12 million over three years, parcelled out in 3.5 like doses, but with the last year unguaranteed. At least that what makes the most sense.
But then, the poop hit the fan.
- Andre Iguodala signed with fellow Pacific Division rival, the Golden State Warriors at 48M/4. Nice deal for the Dubs as Iggy was apparently offered more from his old team the Denver Whatevers. The Whatevers used to be the Nuggets but after winning 57 games last year without a current All Star, they responded by letting their GM walk, firing their venerable coach, and now watching their best all around player walk to the underdog team that BEAT them in the first round last season. Woe are the Nuggets... I mean the Whatevers.
- And it's all rainbows for the Warriors right? I mean in order to sign Iguodala outright they pulled a really fast trade by sending the very expensive but expiring contracts of Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, and Brandon Rush to the Jazz along with two (!) first round pikcs as well as two second round picks. The Warriors take back only guard Kevin Murphy. But the Warriors have to get rid of more salary to sign Iggy, so they revoke the contracts of Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack. Jack and Landry WERE key pieces off the Dubs' bench last season. But it doesn't matter because they are going after bigger fish... the biggest FA fish of all, because they're gonna give up a couple of pieces and bring in Dwight Howard in a sign and trade. But that doesn't happen (more on that in a moment) instead they will live with what they got. (At least they don't have to give up a young player like Harrison Barnes.) So Iguodala will start and give the Dubs much needed defense and Golden State will win all their games and fight Miami for the crown... right? Mmm... even with Barnes coming off the bench the Dubs are thin, if Andrew Bogut can play 75 percent of their games they could be really really good... but there's not much historical evidence to convince anyone that will happen and then there's lots of questions about second year coach Mark Jackson.
- So Utah's got those picks and all those bodies and they gave up nothing, so... they're looking good right? Mmm... but then, they have to make room so they have to revoke Paul Millsap, who almost immediately signs with the Atlanta Hawks for $19M/2years. Ouch. And at some point (earlier I think), the other starting Utah big, Al Jefferson signs with the Charlotte Bobcats for 40.5/3 (Wow!)... which means that Utah loses those two tradeable assets which they held onto for years, for nothing, for bupkus. In return they have a bunch of pieces, but don't really get better.
- At somepoint OJ Mayo signed with the Milwaukee Bucks for 24/3.
- And late in the afternoon, Dwight Howard calls Mark Cuban and tells him he's not coming to Dallas. So Dallas immediately signs Jose Calderon at 29/4.
- Dwight also informs Golden State that they're out of the sweepstakes. Then, curiously, with Houston and LA holding their breath, Dwight gets on a plane from somewhere to Los Angeles. Purportedly he wants to talk to Laker's GM Mitch Kupchak. But when Dwight lands, he doesn't go to Kupchak's office, but calls him on the phone and tells him he won't be coming to the Lake Show. I don't know why he does things this way but he doesn't really do anything in any predictable pattern. So the Lakers are bummed and Kobe Bryant posts a picture of him and Pau Gasol arm in arm. Which is absolutely hysterically dumb if you know anything about their history and how can we not know about their history?
-So, finally, Houston is doing cartwheels and is gonna win a thousand games next year, right? Well they've still got work to do and, as of last night are madly shopping their two highest paid players in Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, who they poison-pilled their way into signing last year. Not only do they need to clear more cap space for DH12 but they apparently want to sign Atlanta forward Josh Smith, who wants something like 15M a year. But even with Smith, and Howard, and Harden, is Houston gonna win a thousand games? They have Chandler Parsons and he's beautiful and cheap and they've got... uh... who else? And Dwight Howard is gonna be the old pre-2012 Howard, right? You're sure? I mean the doctors all say he's ready to go and all that right? You talked to them, right? Daryl, you talked to them? And it'll be great because Kevin McHale's a GREAT coach isn't he? Isn't he?
-Let's not overlook the Lakers precipitous decline. With Howard out, what do they do? Of course they should amnesty Kobe, somehow divest themselves of Pau Gasol and MWP, and dive for as many ping pong balls as they can in the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes but they are a proud franchise. Probably too proud.
- And what of Denver, can they recover from the loss of Iguodala or Karl?
- Hey Clipper fans, it's nice to have Matt Barnes back in the fold isn't it? You got the best Point Guard, the best power forward, great shooters on the wing, a crazy bench with the likes of Barnes and shoulda-been-SMOY Crawford, and a couple of sage, communicative authoritarians running the show in Doc Rivers and Alvin Gentry. I'm liking the Clips a really, really lot. And while some of their Western Division rivals made some significant moves today, all of them are going to have a tough time cracking the top three in the West.